Created for expats living in Japan

How to Switch your Driver's License to a Japanese License

Are you wondering how to convert your foreign driver's license to a Japanese one? Depending on the country or region, you may be exempt from the written or practical exams. The following is a summary of the documents which are required and the exams which you may need to take in order to obtain a Japanese driver's license. Please also refer to Drivers License in Japan. If you would like to renew your license, please read this article.

How to Convert to a Japanese Driver's License

Conversion Process

These mentioned below are exempt from the written and practical driving tests.

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, The United States of America (States of Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and Washington only), and Taiwan, as of March 2024

This mentioned below is exempt from the practical driving tests.

U.S.A. (Indiana State)

Written, driving and eye test are required if your license was issued in the country which is not listed above. For example, USA (states that are not listed above), Hong Kong, India etc.

If you do not speak Japanese, it may be difficult to go through all steps alone. Most Driver’s License Centers require that you bring with you someone who speaks Japanese.

Written Exam in English

You can take the written text in English and in some prefectures the following languages are also available:

Arabic, Bengalese, Burmese, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mandarin, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, and Vietnamese

* All explanations at the exam centre are given in Japanese therefore it is advisable to be accompanied by someone who speaks Japanese.

Required Documents

These things are necessary to be prepared before applying to convert your foreign driver's license to a Japanese one.

Please read this document for details.

>>> How to convert a foreign license into a Japanese one

1. Valid foreign driving license
2. Japanese translation of your license
3. Japanese driving license (if you have one or obtained one in the past)
4. Official copy of your Certificate of Residence (“Jumin-hyo”) which shows your registered domicile or nationality
5. Passport or other official ID
6. Document, ID, etc. which proves that you have stayed in the license-issuing country or region for a total of three months or more since you obtained your license (e.g. passport)
7. Photograph for application form (3cm × 2.4cm)
8. Duration of Stay in Driver's License (DL) Issuing Country
9. Additional documents if required

Some Useful Tips of Passing Japanese Driving Exams

If you live in Tokyo and are interested in learning at a Driving School, English-Speaking Driving Schools in Tokyo may also help you. ASAHI Paper Driving School also provides English-Speaking private driving lessons. Please contact them directly for more details.

Asahi Motors Group also offers a driving test handbook & manual. You can learn how to pass the test on your own without attending driving school, with easy-to-understand illustrations and videos. Click on this link or the image below for more details.

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